25th July 2018
The following President’s Report was delivered at the Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce committee meeting on Monday 23rd July 2018.
Waverley Joint Chambers of Commerce
We are delighted that the Haslemere, Farnham and Godalming Chambers continue to work very closely with Cranleigh Chamber and we all co-operate and help each other where we can.
The Waverley Business, Innovation and Growth (BIG)Awards are our first project together and the second is working together on the Business Improvement District proposal (see below)
Waverley BIG Awards
The inaugural awards were launched on 18th June in front of numerous business sponsors and civic leaders at Lythe Hill Hotel. Entries are now open – https://waverleybigawards.com/ – and close at midnight on 1st September. The gala awards ceremony will be on 19th October at the Lythe Hill Hotel.
Waverley Borough Council
Waverley meets with the Chambers Presidents and VP’s every few months to update them on various business-related matters. There has not been a joint meeting between the four Waverley Chambers and Waverley Council since the last meeting because the date was replaced with a BID (Business Improvement District) meeting on 12th June, more of which below. The next joint meeting is on 18th September.
Waverley Council now has an excellent email newsletter. If you are not on the mailing list and want to be, subscribe here:
Waverley Council held a second event for businesses involved in tourism which I was unable to attend. Local tourism businesses enjoyed presentations from Marwell Wildlife and Tourism South East at Charterhouse last week. The second networking event for the visitor economy sector this year. Their next event will take place on 4th October at Dunsfold Park, with a focus on filming opportunities and film tourism for which Dunsfold has built a reputation. Free to attend, you can book here or contact:
Waverley Local Plan Part Two. There was a public consultation in Cranleigh on 25th June and the six week consultation period ended on 9th July. There will be another consultation as the Plan Part Two gets worked up. Link to the Plan Part 2 is here:
There is good news in the Part 2 Local Plan. The Settlement Boundary has been officially included to cover no more than the areas already granted planning permission. With one small exception in Knowle Lane where a gypsy settlement already exists and has been officially brought into the Settlement Boundary.
The long awaited Draft Economic Strategy to which we initially responded is now in the public domain. I responded on behalf of the Chamber to this Draft. I see a lot of these in my paid role and this Economic Strategy has really shaped up well. The Draft Strategy is here:
Waverley Executive have put forward a plan to invest between £8.7m and £12m in a brand new Leisure Centre on a new site in Cranleigh, to cope with the increased population. This has still to be approved by the Full council and is not clear where the money will come from.
Waverley Business Improvement District (BID) Feasibility Study
Christine, Richard and I attended a meeting of interested parties on 12th June at Farnham Town Hall to discuss whether there is an appetite to progress to the next stage of considering a BID. We received an excellent presentation from Mo Aswat of Mosaic who has now delivered over 100 of the 300 BIDs in England, including Guildford, Camberley, Caterham and Oxted. Caterham and Oxted are really very similar in size to our Waverley towns.
The good news is that it was agreed that the Haslemere, Cranleigh, Godalming and Farnham go ahead with a Feasibility Study which will cost around £15,000 and be paid by Waverley. Whether the project goes further or not, Waverley will lose this £15,000. If the Feasibility Study says there is a strong chance of success, the next stages, however will be funded by Waverley BC in the form of a loan. This loan would be lost if the BID vote fails and will be repaid over five years if the BID vote succeeds.
The presentation from Mosaic is available on request to me but some brief notes:
o The BID is led 100% by the businesses in the area selected not by the council.
o The businesses decide the area selected. For example, in our case it could be the High Street plus the Leisure Centre, Surgery and Parish Council area…or not etc. Businesses decide.
o A BID is ‘An arrangement whereby businesses get together, decide what additional improvements they want to make, how they are going to manage and deliver those
o improvements and what it will cost them. This all goes into a business plan which is voted on by all those who would have to pay. The BID can last for a maximum of 5
o years and must be able to demonstrate how it has benefited businesses who have funded it.
o The average BID levy payable is 1%. Large businesses like Sainsburys and the Co-op may or may not get involved but always pay the Levy automatically, so it would be a good way to get a decent contribution from the national chains.
o Depending on the results of the Feasibility Study, there would be four independent voting areas in each of the towns so that if any one failed the others could proceed.
o In the Feasibility Stage, Mosaic will include
Partnership & Plans Review
Develop Database & Information System
Financial Analysis Review
Business Engagement Review
o In other words, ‘will it work?’ because the next stage becomes quite expensive.
Rosemary French OBE